BIG news for of the Pennsylvania Senate race:
Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge (R) said Thursday that he will not run for the Senate next year, denying Republicans of a high-profile and popular candidate to take on Sen. Arlen Specter since he switched parties.

"After careful consideration and many conversations with friends and family and the leadership of my party, I have decided not to seek the Republican nomination for Senate," Ridge said in a statement.

This is a very large blow to Republicans, who are left with Toomey and anti-abortion activist Peg Luksik in the GOP primary (Check out this polling). I would think this would also make it more likely that Congressman Jim Gerlach (R) jumps in the race.

Ridge's decision is also probably very welcomes in Specter land, considering the news cycle this week hasn't been particularly good to the senator.

jeremy.jacobs@thehill.com